Clarets midfielder set to report back for pre-season

Steven Defour
Steven Defour

Clarets midfielder Steven Defour will report back to pre-season training with Burnley - but his future may still lie elsewhere.

The Belgium international arrived last summer for a then-club record £7.4m signing from Anderlecht.

But the-29-year-old ended the season a frustrated figure, making only one start in the Premier League after suffering a calf injury in the 1-0 win over Leicester City at Turf Moor on January 31st.

The club will not stand in his way if they can recoup most or all of their outlay, but the only concrete offer they had received was from Olympiakos, who were prepared to take the player on loan, paying a small percentage of his wages.

The deal was not suitable for either Burnley or Defour, who remains a Claret for now.

His agent Christian Pala said this morning: "At this moment, he will start pre-season with Burnley, he will be at training on Wednesday.

"He didn't have a good second half of the season, he didn't play, so obviously he wasn't happy.

"It is important to Steven to play, to be important for his team, to be part of the team, and he didn't have both things in the second half of the season.

"The club know the situation, we know the situation of the club, and at this moment, there is no offer sufficient enough for the club or Steven.

"He is still a Burnley player and has to respect his contract.

"I can't say what will happen, it is still early, but he will start pre-season and we will see what happens.

"But it has to be sufficient for everybody, if Steven is to have a new challenge, it has to be sufficient.

"There was an offer (from Olympiakos) and offers from different clubs, but none could match the demands of Burnley or Steven.

"We will see what happens."

Defour arrived at Burnley having recently had a daughter with his partner, and whether he stays or goes, his family will have a big bearing on any decision, as Pala explained: "It is a difficult situation, there are more things in his mind than playing time, like his family, so he has to make a good choice for himself.

"He is 29 and the next couple of years will be important for his career.

"The choice he has to make will need a lot of thinking, and his heart.

"It won't be a decision that will be made in one or two days.

"We'll let everything come to us, and see if he and the club are better off, and if there is nothing, we will see what happens.

"Pre-season is important to build up your fitness, but there are more things than his fitness, there are more things going on, his family, and and he has to be happy.

"He finished the season unhappy, so we will see what happens."

The Burnley fans took Defour to their hearts, and he appreciated that support: "He respects the fans, and sees how much respect he gets from them, but it is difficult, he doesn't want to sit on the bench, he wants to play and show his ability.

"If he gets play time and is important to the team, he is happy, so the last three or four months he wasn't - it is difficult mentally, having confidence.

"If a manager gives you confidence, the player is always different, so we will wait and see.

"We have a great relationship with the board and know the situation, if something happens, it has to be good for everybody, we respect each other's demands."

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